More Getting than Giving!

The race against time continued today.  We started by loading the large “Hope for the Future” truck with the boxes for the Chausy Orphanage and took everything over in 3 loads.  Of course we had help from the staff and students as well.


Locals continued to arrive at the school to pick up their parcels and it is amazing to see the different methods they have to carry their boxes.  Some use bicycles, some use small 2 wheeled dolly’s, a few unload their boxes into bags and carry them home, we also have drivers available to drive them as well.  Today a man arrived driving a small 2 wheeled garden tractor pulling a wagon.  He sat on the front of the wagon and his wife was in the back.  It turned out that they are the Grandparents of a girl now living in Brockville.  Cathy had a few things to give them and here she is posing with them and their tractor.


Once the Social Service buses returned we got 3 teams on the road delivering boxes.  Each team consists of a Social Services driver and worker, an interpreter and 2 – 4 Canadians.  Today I was out with Cathy, Cole and Annis along with our interpreter Masha.  This house is very typical of many of the rural houses.


It is interesting to see some of the devices used in the houses.  This is one of many variations of water tanks over a sink used in homes without running water.  Just fill the tank and gravity does the rest.


The woman in this photo lives alone in a very remote area.  She had broken her left wrist in the recent past and it is now healed.  However, it is obvious that the bones were never set and they do not line up.  It causes her constant pain and of course is very limiting for her.  She has neighbours who drop in to help but we were concerned that she would not be able to open a jar or can.


Today my team was on a slightly smaller bus than yesterday, but it was still amazing to see where our driver was willing to go.  I guess the big snow tires help a certain amount, but it was still necessary to walk to several of the homes.


The house we delivered to in this picture actually was at the “end of the road”!


Many of the Canadians bring toys and clothes to give out when they see needy children.  Both Cathy and Annis had brought these items and some candy as well.  Anywhere we stopped with children they would pull surprises out of their bags.  Cathy was given a large box of “Hot Wheels” cars to give out.  This in itself is not unusual, but in this case the donation was made by an 8 year old boy!  A boy to whom these cars would carry great value … I can think of no more heartfelt donation received by our organization!

Any family with more than 2 children is considered a large family and qualifies for assistance.  Here a mother of 3 holds her twins while her young infant sleeps in the next room.  Cathy pulled out some pajamas and a blanket out of her bag.


Here is yet another shot showing the amount of water lying around.  Many houses were difficult for us to get to even with boots on, there are some homes that we saw that would have been impossible!


The boy in this home has crossed eyes and is considered and invalid.  Here his Grandmother tries to get him to face the camera for a photo, while he focuses on tugging the wrapper off his newly acquired sucker!


This woman has 6 children, 3 were home when we stopped in.  Cathy managed to pull a pair of matching tops out of her bag for the two girls.


People are the same where ever you go … where there is water, there are boys playing.


Here is part of our group making the muddy trek to a home down a long lane-way.  It is awesome to see that many of our group (delegates and interpreters) are young people in their 20’s.  This generation seems to be so much more aware of the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves.


The house at the end of the long lane-way had quite a remarkable view.  Looking over a small lake and across to a small church.


Here is yet another case of utilizing what you have.  I have never seen a set of barbells quite like this.


These old wooden homes heated by wood is a combination that is always dangerous and I saw 2 recently burned out homes in as many days.


Something we have seen more and more over the past couple of years is the “store on wheels”.  These vehicles travel around from village to village bringing milk and bread and other necessities to people who have no means to get to a store.


The man in this photo is repairing his petchka.  It has been a long hard winter and this one has obviously dried out and started to crack and break down.  The warmer weather allows him to get it fixed up before it is beyond repair.  He is a single father raising two young children.


Our final stop today was a woman who fought during the second world war. Belarus was on the front and lost 1 in 4 of it’s citizens.  In this region 1 in 3 died.  Her hearing was very poor and we were unable to get any details, but we know that she was awarded a medal.  I have combined a picture of her taken when she enlisted with one taken today.  She could not have been more than 18 (maybe younger) in the first photo.


We also met a man today who is a double amputee.  I watched him go from a car to a little home-made dolly which he then wheeled across the rough driveway and into his home over a threshold.  He had a smile on his face the whole time and was very happy to see us, as up beat and cheerful as anyone I have met.  There was also a woman who has been bed-ridden since her release from a German prisoner of  war camp and the list goes on!

All in all another great day with many meaningful experiences and memorable people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in need of a helping hand.  Thanks Cathy, Annis, Cole, Masha and Lena for sharing this experience with me.  I watched each of you give that hand along with a little piece of your heart as well.  And thanks to all of the people we met today who opened their homes and hearts and gave back to us more than they will ever know.

Eric McKenzie

1 thought on “More Getting than Giving!

  1. Tim Lidlow

    Hi Eric,
    Congratulations on a job well done. It is a wonderful thing that you are all doing! I cannot wait to go in the fall.

    Take Care,

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